x

SPORTS

Rick Pitino Leaves Greece, Returns to College Basketball as Iona Coach

March 16, 2020

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (AP) — Hall of Famer Rick Pitino was named basketball coach at Iona College on Saturday.

Pitino coached at Louisville from 2001-17 before being fired in a pay-for-play scandal and had been coaching in Greece. He replaces Tim Cluess, who resigned Friday due to health concerns after 10 years and six NCAA Tournament appearances.

“My passion in basketball started in New York and will end there at Iona College,” Pitino said in a statement released by the Catholic school located north of New York City in suburban Westchester County that has an undergraduate enrollment of 3,300 students.

“Tim Cluess has done a spectacular job creating success and a winning spirit,” Pitino added. “At Iona, I will work with the same passion, hunger and drive that I’ve had for over 40 years.”

The 67-year-old Pitino has a 770-271 overall record in college and became the first coach to take three different schools to the Final Four. He won national championships at Louisville (2013) and Kentucky (1996) and also went to the Final Four with Providence in 1987.

Pitino coached twice in the NBA, with the New York Knicks (1987-89) and the Boston Celtics (1997-2001), where he was also team president.

Last June, Pitino coached Panathinaikos to the championship in the Greek League.

Iona President Seamus Carey said “after a thorough interview process we are confident that Rick’s experience and commitment to Iona and our community make him the right person to continue to build on Tim Cluess’ success.”

Pitino’s return to college basketball comes nearly six months after he and Louisville settled lawsuits stemming from his departure in the wake of a federal investigation of corruption in college basketball.

The coach had sued the University of Louisville Athletic Association for more than $38.7 million in November 2017, alleging its breached its contract by firing him for cause the previous month. The school had countersued and sought monetary damages for vacated games and bonuses. Pitino received no money in the settlement, with his personnel file changing from termination to a resignation effective 13 days before he was fired.

The settlement closed a bitter final chapter between the school and Pitino, who wasn’t named in the federal complaint. He repeatedly said he knew nothing about payments made to the family of a recruit to sign with Louisville.

The school’s acknowledgement of its involvement in the federal investigation occurred as it appealed NCAA sanctions that cost Louisville its 2013 national championship.

In that case, the governing body ordered the vacation of 123 victories, including the Cardinals’ third national title and their 2012 Final Four appearance, following an escort’s book allegations that former Louisville men’s basketball staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with players and recruits.

Pitino said he was unaware of any of the activities described in the book. While Louisville reiterated in a joint settlement statement that infractions under his watch led to “serious consequences” for the school, it acknowledged Pitino’s success and commitment to his players and thanked him for his service.

___

RELATED

DALLAS  — Luka Doncic scored 25 of his 29 points in the first half, Kyrie Irving added 21 points and the Dallas Mavericks emphatically extended their season on Friday night, fending off elimination by beating the Boston Celtics 122-84 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

1 of 2 Abducted Louisiana Children is Found Dead in Mississippi after Their Mother is Killed

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Louisiana woman was found dead in her home Thursday, and her two young daughters were abducted and found hours later in Mississippi — one dead and the other alive, police said.

WASHINGTON  — The Supreme Court on Friday struck down a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, the rapid-fire gun accessories used in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.  — Donald Trump marked his 78th birthday on Friday night by addressing a fawning crowd in Florida and repeatedly dismissing his opponent in November’s election, 81-year-old President Joe Biden, as too frail to handle a second term.

WASHINGTON  — Speaker Mike Johnson said Friday that the House will go to court to enforce the subpoena against Attorney General Merrick Garland for access to President Joe Biden's special counsel audio interview, hours after the Justice Department refused to prosecute Republicans’ contempt of Congress charge.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.